Atlanta-based Jackson Securities announced it tapped municipal industry veteran David A. Bernat to be managing director in its public finance group, where he will work to expand underwriting efforts in the Northeast.
Jackson Securities, the sixth-largest minority-owned co-manager last year, was founded in 1987 by the late Maynard Jackson, mayor of Atlanta from 1974 to 1982.
Through its nine offices across the country — including two in the Northeast, one in Chicago, one in Los Angeles, two in Texas, one in Wisconsin and one in Miami — the firm offers services in public finance, equity trade execution, wealth management, and corporate finance.
Bernat’s position is based in Stamford, Conn., where the muni sales and trading desk is located.
Alongside Bruce Gow, Jackson’s chief product officer, Bernat will direct the 10-member public finance group, which includes head underwriter Beth Wolchok and head trader David Frank.
“He brings an extremely high level of banking expertise and experience which will enhance our market activity and profile,” Gow said. “David’s hiring fits in well with our ongoing plan to strategically expand our public finance presence.”
Bernat brings more than three decades of experience to the position, including 22 years in finance.
Most recently, he was an investment banker for eight years at FleetBoston, which was acquired by Bank of America in 2004.
During his tenure there he led the public finance effort in the Northeast and worked on taxable, tax-exempt, and floating-rate transactions.
Before that, he spent five years in different roles, including as a senior vice president at Prudential Securities, a co-senior manager at First Albany Corp., and a managing director for KPMG.
His public finance career dates back to 1988 when he joined Merrill Lynch, where he stayed for eight years in the municipal markets division.
In addition, Bernat practiced law in New York City from 1978 to 1985.
“I am excited to be a member of Jackson’s team,” he said in a statement. “Jackson Securities is a well-respected firm with a strong history in municipal finance and a terrific sense of social responsibility.”
He joins a group that has been relatively steady throughout the financial turmoil, something Gow attributed to the firm’s avoidance of any products perceived as exotic, such as auction-rate securities.
“The various market disruptions did not adversely affect us,” he said. “Our bread and butter is really traditional muni business. And while pretty much every market on earth came to a halt for a period of time there, the muni market was back up and operating pretty quickly.”
According to data from Thomson Reuters, the past three years have been some of the best for the firm.
In 2007, Jackson co-managed 85 deals totaling $3.6 billion, versus 82 deals totaling $2.6 billion in 2006.
Volume declined to $3.2 billion in 2008, but in 2009 the firm had a record year, co-managing 140 deals worth $3.7 billion.
Gow commented: “We continued to concentrate on our muni business, so we’ve done well.”